[ nim-buh s ]
/ ˈnɪm bəs /

noun, plural nim·bi [nim-buh bahy] /ˈnɪm bəbaɪ/, nim·bus·es.

Classical Mythology. a shining cloud sometimes surrounding a deity when on earth.
a cloud, aura, atmosphere, etc., surrounding a person or thing: The candidate was encompassed with a nimbus of fame.
the type of dense clouds or cloud mass with ragged edges, that yields rain or snow; a rain cloud.
(initial capital letter) U.S. Aerospace. one of a series of polar-orbiting meteorological and environmental research satellites, the last of which Nimbus 7, launched 1978, was the first satellite designed to monitor atmospheric pollutants.

Nearby words

  1. nim tree,
  2. nimble,
  3. nimblewit,
  4. nimbo-,
  5. nimbostratus,
  6. nimbus clouds,
  7. nimby,
  8. nimbyism,
  9. nimeiry,
  10. nimh

Origin of nimbus

1610–20; < Latin: a rainstorm, rain cloud, thundercloud, cloud; akin to Latin nebula and Greek nephélē, néphos cloud

Related formsnim·bused, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nimbus

British Dictionary definitions for nimbus


/ (ˈnɪmbəs) /

noun plural -bi (-baɪ) or -buses

  1. a dark grey rain-bearing cloud
  2. (in combination)cumulonimbus clouds
  1. an emanation of light surrounding a saint or deity
  2. a representation of this emanation
a surrounding aura or atmosphere
Derived Formsnimbused, adjective

Word Origin for nimbus

C17: from Latin: cloud, radiance

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for nimbus



1610s, "bright cloud surrounding a god," from Latin nimbus "cloud," perhaps related to nebula "cloud, mist" (see nebula). Meaning "halo" is first recorded c.1730. Meteorological sense of "a rain cloud" is from 1803.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for nimbus


[ nĭmbəs ]

Plural nimbi (nĭmbī′) nimbuses

A rain cloud.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.